A round trip summit ride to Mt. Diablo from Pleasant Hill BART puts you 36 miles and 3800 feet of elevation gain closer to leveling up. Better yet, you can’t get Legend of Zelda: Quest for El Diablo at Gamestop or Barnes and Nobles. That’s because Flaming Bikers ride Open Access.
Route: My route here ascends via the North Gate Road. For a round trip, it descends on South Gate Road for a optional stop at Blackhawk Quarry — a paleontological treasure trove of Miocene vertebrate remains. Bonus points for finding a sabre tooth tiger! Return to Pleasant Hill BART on the Danville Road bike lane or along the Ironhorse Trail.
Map: The “East of the Hills” map published by the East Bay Bike Coalition shows the best bike routes for avoiding Walnut Creek’s high traffic corridors.
Season: The inland valleys of the East Bay heat up mightily, so expect over a hundred degrees if you venture in the summer. You can avoid it by going in the early morning. All other seasons are good — especially during tarantula mating season! In the late September through October, you’ll find conscientious roadies ushering these overgrown arachnids (~4 inches leg to leg) off the road.
Camping: Mt. Diablo is an ideal location for a bike overnight. While Live Oak and Junction Campgrounds look mighty attractive when you’re hauling a bike camping kit up, try for Juniper Campground just two miles from the summit. Reserve your camp here. It’s the woodsiest and has the best view. Be sure to secure your food. I woke up one morning to a fat-ass raccoon licking my avocado off its paws. It had reached into the food locker (which had a poorly designed latch), unzipped my pannier, and demolished my breakfast.
What’s with the 8-bit Google Map? Continue reading about why 8-bit is the is the visual language of adventure for my generation.